Monday, December 17, 2012

Forgive me, Runners...

Forgive me, runners, for I have rested.

It's been over two weeks since my last run and I cannot deny the joy it has brought me. Only three days  since I started considering running again, and already I have registered for the Squamish 50k. This event will undoubtedly be well organized, over spectacular terrain and among beautiful people. Just registering has seemingly lit that proverbial fire I needed to get excited about running again. 

This picture from last years hellish (I say that fondly) 50 mil'r, is another reason to get running in Squamish on August 10th. There's nothing like hearing your kid shout your name as you plod by in an ultra-haze, whilst shoveling god knows what down your throat. 


Friday, December 7, 2012

Totally Gunned

I've been waiting for these couple of "do-nothing" weeks for awhile now and it's every bit as dreamy as finding cash in your ski jacket from the previous season. Since last Saturday's Gunner Shaw, I haven't even run to get out of oncoming traffic. It feels fabulous and my energy is definitely springing back. I was a bit in the closet about the fact that I was putting some training effort into Gunner Shaw this year but I worked hard for close to seven weeks. With a whack of mile and two mile repeats at "this-sucks" pace, it seemed I had to be benefiting. That was until the third week when I realized I wasn't seeing any improvements and that my track times were actually getting slower and my niggly injuries weren't exiting this thing I pretend is a temple. Even worse, I started dreading every run. Even the short, easy 40 minute lunch runs were as unappealing as Killian-style white Exo on a hog. Running in the Santa Monica Hills over my birthday was even tough to get into. If it weren't for the novelty of a new locale, I'd have been happier sipping coffee and watching the very special crew at Venice Beach.
A beautiful Saturday morning heading back down from Topenga State Park near Santa Monica
After a couple days off, I thought I might surprise myself and run well at this years Gunner Shaw. That morning though, I awoke feeling the same dread toward running that I had in the days before. As usual, the event was excellent. On a super fun course with beach, mud, the return of the giant puddle and what I refer to as "unleapable duck shit leap", this event was a blast. As for me, I ran the two 5k loops in just over 41 minutes and was completely and utterly GUNNED!

Thanks Jan Heuninck for the great action shot. You've given me the illusion of speed which I had little of that day.
Other than the cinnamon bun I actually drove all the way over the Lion's Gate for, knowing that this was my last run for a couple weeks was the only thing bringing a smile to my face at the finish line that morning. I don't plan to run again for about two more weeks but I'm looking forward to some more weight work with Marx Conditioning and a couple more Cyclocross races in the Bellingham area. As Monika (Marx) says, "It's time to recharge".

Sunday, November 4, 2012

X Border Clash

The first of my #'s in this series.
First lap in and I can't believe I'm in 5th place. I started right at the front but strongly questioned whether or not I could hold a spot up there. All I knew was that it would be crucial to be in a small but spaced out group of talented riders on the first approach to the "flyover" or else it'd be pile up city. Out of the curvy trees in 8th place and I could see it was going to be a clear approach so I generated some momentum, hit the transition and up I went to push the front of the bike over the top edge and glide smoothly down the other side. 

A couple "km" on the grass, across some energy sucking sand and into the single track and pump track section. Coming out of the first lap, I was in fifth place and feeling terrific. This was going to hurt but was going to be a good day. Over the course of the next two laps, I whittled away at the field and brought myself into third place. First place was about 15 seconds out front of me, but heading into the pump session on the last lap I was right on the wheel of second place, who was wearing pink socks. Pink Socks guy could spin on the pavement too, so had I to get across the skinny and out of the sand pit before he did to have a chance. I did it! Over the last hump and onto the asphalt toward the finish line. Pink socks hammers by me. "What the hell?", I said to him. "Is there another lap? I thought the last one was beer lap?" It was. The finish line is just ahead", he says.  CRAP! And I chase him into the chute for third place by a tires length. 

As my buddy Bob Welbourne said afterward though, "I'll never do that again". He's right. I learned a good lesson here, as I have with each of my races this year. Being new to the sport is great. It's an exhilarating sport. It gets the lungs burning and creates a perma-grin at the same time.

Yesterday's event in particular was right up my alley. Loads of tight corners, a skinny 2x6 over sand, a good size flyover that initially provoked some anxiety in me, and a brilliant single track section that ended on a loopy, little pump track.  Thanks for a terrific event Cascade Cross. I'm hoping to be at the Thriller Cross in December and the Chiller Cross in January. Check out the course below.

Huge Kudos and thanks to my bro-in-law, Mike Tunnah for kicking ass and taking 10th place and for pushing me to get on the cyclocross bad wagon in the first place. As well to the Lazy Trail Runner, Duncan Coo,  your fourth place Master this past Saturday. I likely wouldn't have tried CX without you boys.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Baker Lake 50

*Mount Baker - Southern Aspect from Start/Finish Area
Lately I've been staring at our local mountains in awe. Likely because the air is crystal clear and the sun is low making them extra vibrant and spectacular. On a day free of valley smog, I've always felt this way about Mount Baker and often wondered about the terrain just beyond it. 

My late, half-assed, registration into the Baker Lake 50 answered that question this past Saturday and has left me wanting more. The race route took racers up the south side of Baker Lake to the mouth of the Baker River through thousands of ups and downs and twists and turns. The elevation gained and lost was unassuming until the return trip home. Every little hill became a fight after 40k and the red-shirted Portlander in front of me was the carrot I needed to get it done. We pretty much ran the entire race together.

Race start was 8am so I rose from the tent to sip my smoothie, nibble a bagel avec Pocket Fuel and light a coffee fire in my ass under lantern-lit cold and darkness. It was uncomfortably perfect. Being a self supported race, I packed two Salomon Advanced Skin bags. One was for the first 25km and the other for the drop zone and route back. In hindsight, a work of genius. 

In a bit of a daydream we wandered through the camp site discussing the day ahead. We had about 10 minutes to lay down our drop bags, yak with fellow racers and get moving... so we thought. The moment my drop bag hit the back of the pick up, I heard the RD shout, "GO!". A quick, "What the f#*k?" came out of mouth and off I went in last place.

*That's me third from the right in last place leaving the start line at 7:56am
Quickly I snaked my way up toward the dam crossing to immediately slow and stare at the ass end of Mount Baker. I hadn't seen it the night before because we arrived in the dark. After a quick look, my good friend Graem and I started making our way through the pack where we eventually hit what we'd come for: SINGLE TRACK HEAVEN. 

*Heading west along Baker lake back to the finish.
Not being able to help it, I let my legs roll immediately and left my rookie friend in the dust. He had never run anything this long before and I figured he was being smart and settling into a comfortable position. I was anything but comfortable by the time an hour had gone by. My right hip flexor started yelling at me and the toes on that foot went to sleep with the occasional lightning-type pain shooting through them. Being in the middle of nowhere, my only choice was to continue to the turn around and drop out. I've never dropped from a race in my life and I had a little over an hour to come to terms with it. Permanent damage wasn't worth it. A gorgeous landscape in all new terrain and I was wallowing in self-pity. Things couldn't have gotten worse...until they did. My "first time ultra runner" buddy, Graem, comes on to me like a train, yaks me up a bit and plays on through. Again, "what the f#*k!?". I was already into my 50k pace and I knew I was doing it right so I let him go. "Rookie mistake", I kept reminding myself. I ran about 100 meters behind him and two others to the turn around at which point I dropped my Advanced Skin pack, saddled up another and was gone. He later said he looked up from his own transition mess and I had disappeared.

My foot and hip flexors hadn't gotten any worse by this time, I think because I focused hard on my technique immediately after being run over by my buddy. I made sure to shorten my strides, stand tall and really engage my glutes to be as efficient as possible and avoid loading my hip flexors. With things being no worse, I had no choice but to continue my race. Now I was running scared though and I fought the entire way back to avoid another mental beating by Graem. Having left the turn around with a great runner from Portland named Todd was a blessing. We pushed and towed until about 48km at which point the wheels came off my bus and I entered survival mode.

Todd took 5th place by about 1 minute and I settled for a, not too shabby, 6th place in a time of 4 hours and 40 minutes. Graem had made a mistake in running by me early on and finished in 5:32. Nonetheless, a damn brilliant time for a first timer.

Again my Speed Cross III's treated me right as did my Fast Wing Hoody and Advanced Skin packs. My splits were 2:19 and 2:21. Unfortunately the first 3/4's of my return trip was a touch too fast and I paid for it with a 2 minute positive split. Super proud of my overall time though. A perfect way to end my season.

*Thanks to Solana Leigh (Klassen) and Hubby Photographer for the pictures.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Two'fer Weekend

It's been awhile since I had a loaded weekend like this past one...let alone one this great. Not only was the weather brilliant, but the events were even better.

As usual, 5 Peaks put together an amazing show at Buntzen Lake on Saturday. It was amazing to run the Diez Vista trail again too. This trail really seems to suit my strengths in climbing and technical, rocky, rooty dancing. My time of an hour 30 was good enough for 11th overall.

Sunday too was outstanding. Over the past few years I've been sidelining Cyclocross races and thinking I'd love to try it. This year I got on it. Of course I was nervous as most people are with new things. I had no idea what I was doing, but saddled up and got in line to start 40 minutes of lung seering craziness. Vanier Park CX, put on by West Coast Racing, was a super fun, albeit dry, course. It was windy and fast with a few short steep hills and barriers. Thank god for warm up laps so I knew the lines to ride.

Here are a few pics from Vanier, thanks to Sam Gilchrist.
Jumping the barriers after a crap dismount

Jumping the barriers


Next weekend I'm off to Concrete, Washington for my final Ultra of the year, Baker Lake 50k. The weather is promising with higher than normal fall temperatures.

P.S. Thanks to Salomon West Vancouver for my new riding kit. You absolutely must get in there and try'em on.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Meet Your Maker 50 & Relay

Meet Your Maker, a 50 mile ultra through the stunning landscape of Whistler, and the dreamchild of 5 Peaks' Kathryn Stanton, came to fruition this last weekend. And with outstanding success I might add. The 5 Peaks team put together one of the most amazing race experiences I've ever been part of. They must know god as well because the weather was absolutely perfect.

Having run the Squamish 50 a few weeks back I regretfully vowed not to run 50 miles again for awhile and so registered with a Salomon Flight Crew Team to do the  Meet Your Maker relay. As many of you know, the relay experience is super fun as you jump from leg to leg and see who can catch up or who will be caught. It's tense at times, but you can feel the camaraderie deepening throughout the event; Great for our Flight Crew Teams as we only really catch up once a year.

It's not often I am able to run in the alpine of Whistler mountain or any alpine for that matter so I requested an alpine leg. Munny, our illustrious leader, gave me legs four and five. Leg four is like no other trail run in the world. I received the relay beacon, sprinted 75 meters, and sat down inside Whistler's Peak to Peak gondola for 12 minutes. Our team was in 7th place and I knew I had some work to do and so didn't really enjoy the anxiety filled ride from Blackcomb to Whistler. Upon touch down at the south end, I flashed out of the tiny red cabin to run straight down hill for almost eight kilometers to Creekside. The run was uneventful other than a short pee break half way down Franz's until and a super dancy section of single track just prior to the end. It wasn't until I ran through the aid station and began leg five that I realized how messed up my legs were going to be after this was over. With a filled water bottle, I turned back up the hill and headed into the trees again toward the Cheakamus River. This leg was mostly old skid road until reaching the river itself. At this point you enter single track heaven and burn it down and down and down until finally reaching the exchange at Function Junction. Sore legs and all, I nailed the fastest time of the day on that section and the second fastest downhill time on my previous leg.

The relay beacon into Munny's sweaty, little hands and I was done. I put my hands on my knees, took a couple of breaths and looked up to see Munny had completely vanished down the road. My performance brought us into 5th place and Munny's  performances, one of which was a bit mysterious, got us another two places for a third overall finish and 1st team of males.
Your winning team (Me, Munny Munro, Ashley)

It was an amazing event and as has been quoted several times in the last week, I can't wait to Meet My Maker next year. With teary and proud eyes, Kathryn and her team were able to announce that this event is a certainty for next year on September 1st.

Thanks to Salomon for a terrific weekend. Great people. Great food. And a whole lot of laughs.

Congratulations to our Flight Crew Captain, Phil Villeneuve, for a well earned second place in the 50 miler. Four days later and my legs are finally coming around. I can't imagine yours have been any better.

Friday, August 24, 2012

One Tardy Squamish 50 Recap

Photo rip off from "Mr. Most Ultra's in a Season" himself,  Josh Barringer
I got me one these medals in what I have since called the hardest athletic undertaking I  have ever done. Slightly over fifty miles and somewhere near 10,000 feet of climbing, my mantra became one of two things: "every step is progress" or "I get to stop running soon". Fortunately the latter came after 70k and it really was to be soon.

The former began after kilometer 40ish, where the course comes out onto Perth Drive. Prior to that I was cruising mantra-less and absolutely loving the single track likes of Rigz n' Zen, Crouching Squirrel..., Credit Line, 4 Lakes, Made in the Shade, Ed's Bypass, Endo, and Roller Coaster. 

Photo Credit: Glenn Tachiyama - Just off Debecks & into Rigs n' Zen with Pricey. Thanks, Pricey!

As many of you know, Roller Coaster spits you out onto Perth Drive and so begins a kilometer of road running before the flow-sucking parasite that is that f'n bark mulch trail over to the first of too many Fire Service Road (FSR) loops. My mantra got me up "Mount Olympus" to the top of Quest University where I'd see my cheering squad (and Brian McCurdy who's just a swell dude). The 100 meter climb wasn't my favorite, but a necessary evil to reaching my drop bag for the first time. Big smiles from my wife and daughter and huge crowd of half marathon excitees. Coconut water down, a second bottle, a shot of sunscreen, and the most unromantic body glide teste rub of all time. I was off again with a very very temporary renewed existence. Trotting up the FSR with the likes of Adam Campbell and other half marathoners in tow, I dug into my mantra again. Every step is progress when who should come into view, the author of my mantra by Twitter, Mike Palichuk. Smiling ear to ear he sent me across the flank of the the mountain to the dreamiest single-track of the day. Across George's Bridge and the Mashiter FSR to ascend Skookum and descend the Powersmart series, across the road and down Fred's into Word of Mouth. At the end of Word of Mouth, I stayed right and slipped into a trail I'd never run before. It was fabulous and best of all, spit out half way up "Mount Olympus" again to my drop bag. I didn't have to run all the way from the bottom to reach kilometer 58. 

This is when I started to realize how hot it was. McCurdy looked at me and said, "Hot, huh?" And he wasn't talking about himself. I dropped a bottle, misted myself in Kinesys, grabbed some more food, and off I went realizing he was right. It was HOT! I hadn't noticed until he told me how to feel.

As I do in most ultra distance races, I started to focus on segmenting the remainder of my run. FSR and Pseudo Tsuga, FSR to Powerhouse Plunge and into the final aid station of the day. After that came Crumpit Woods and that wasn't even on my mind yet. Nor should it have been. 

Cursing the name Gary Robbins and tootling up that FSR again...YES! AGAIN, the second loop wasn't so bad but dropping into Pseudo Tsuga wasn't as dreamy as I thought it might be. A former old school downhill trail, this thing has been buffed up with smooth flowing corners. What is incredible on a bike however isn't always incredible on legs with 60+ kilometers in them. The descent was tough and I oddly wished for the FSR again as it would lead me to the right this time and up toward the Powerhouse Plunge and my final segment.

It was good to see others suffering here as I passed four runners to find out they had black numbers indicating they were running the full as well. At this point I was looking for anything to bring morale up. With little chat in me I left them behind, cleared the Plunge and started thinking about the final aid station and my journey to the finish. Tired legs or not, the Plunge was wicked. It's fast and turny and technical; just the wake up I needed before seeing my family at the final aid station. A few smiles and cheeky jokes from Ward Beemer, a kiss from Lara, along with two glasses of Coke and off I went into Crumpit Woods. I really worked hard at this section because I knew it would be easy to lay off and walk all the hills. Trouble is there are too many hills and I'd be walking most of it. Running took just about the same amount of effort as did walking anyway so it made sense to push it. I kept thinking, "I'm actually going to finish this and my body is fine". Early on I had expected an injury or something to plague me.  The run down the asphalt of Plateau Drive didn't bother me at all. It was after exiting the Smoke Bluffs parking lot that my eyes started closing. I was starting to fall asleep in mid stride and was talking to myself in order to stay awake right until I crossed the finish line in 9 hours 30 minutes and in 12th place.

By 9 hours and 31 minutes, and still in 12th place,  I was laying on the grass with my very excited daughter feeding me watermelon and flaunting the medal I was given at some point that I don't recall.

My girls fed me sandwiches and Pricey's crew, Mr. McGregor, kept me smiling with his silly banter. (Special thank you to McGregor too, for bringing my lost water bottle to the start line for me). It wasn't long before Pricey came cruising through looking great. Congratulations, Chris. What a brilliant season you've had as you go into your last one next weekend, Meet Your Maker.

Almost two weeks later and after some serious reflection, I'm certain I'd challenge this race again. Gary and Geoff did an outstanding job of showcasing Squamish and making this race an instant classic. I have run/raced 50 miles many times however, and I must say that never has it been as hard. By all accounts this was a very challenging 50. Finishing times were slower than expected even in the top of the field. My greatest relief was hearing Ellie Greenwood say it was one of the harder ones she's done, if not the hardest.

Hard or not, I'm grateful for a full day and the achievement. Cheers to Gary, Geoff, Squamish, and so many Volunteers.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ahead of Squamish 50

I've been thinking a lot about this weekend's Squamish 50 and what advice I might give myself or what advice others might give me. Guys like Krupicka might say, run shirtless while Killian might say, in broken English, have fun and run fast up hill. Gary Robbins has told me start slow; slower than you think is appropriate. Distance Runwear's Dave Cressman told me via Twitter, "just remember it is supposed to feel as hard as it is so don't be disappointed by the pain but enjoy it".  My mother simply says, "How far? And why? I hope you like running".

I'm know I'll enjoy the day and I'll likely take it easy on the hills with my shirt on, but this video is exactly what I needed. Take the 12 minutes. Tim Noakes is brilliant.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Mind of the Injured

A while back, I wrote a blog questioning "when are you a runner?". Some of the responses were hysterical and mostly based on what one is not - "a jogger". A jog is "what you do to warm up for running" or "that is what my high school PE teacher made us do", were some of the responses.  Would a jogger force him or herself out the door to train for an upcoming race regardless of pain? No way! This is the job of a "runner".
For this reason, I evidently think of myself as a runner for injury has once again reared it's ugly head in the form of foot pain.

Something strange is causing numbness, tingling and spear-like pain in my feet. It started a few months ago as a warm sensation on the lateral and distal portion of my right foot and has slowly wormed it's way into being occasionally debilitating. Several recent runs have become beautiful forest walks, but still I race, 5 Peaks Squamish on June 9th, Redbull Divide and Conquer, on June 16th, and Comfortably Numb, this coming weekend. The training runs that haven't been debilitating are just the dangling carrot I need to convince myself I still CAN race. 

Here in lies the problem for most runners with injuries however. We tend to bargain our way back out the door. Who wants to miss a day? We're driven and seldom do you meet a runner who says, "I'd rather  not run a P.B. at my next race so I can skip some training days".  When we are plagued we hit the computer and after a short Google search highlighting our personal ailments and a hasty self diagnosis, we find a way to justify the most conservative approach to managing the injury. Rarely is rest accepted and no way could surgery ever be required. And who's going to let a physiotherapist or chiropractor tell them what to do? A couple ibuprofens and some favoring of the injured area and off the runner goes to tackle his long run day which becomes even longer and slower due to walking back to the car in a puzzled and depressed state. "What could've gone wrong out there?",  he thinks., while completely ignoring the fact that he ran with his fingers crossed the entire time.

So why do runners do this? Betterment. In John L. Parker, JR.'s book, Again to Carthage, the sequel to Once a Runner, he writes the following and it totally wreaks of our will to rationalize running injured.

"When you're a competitive runner in training you are constantly in a process of ascending. 
That's it. 
It's a simple idea, but the more I thought about it, the more profound it became to me. 
It's not something most human beings would give a moment of consideration to, that it is actually possible to be living for years in a state of constant betterment. To consider that you are better today than you were yesterday or a year ago, and that you will be better still tomorrow or next week or at tournament time your senior year. That if you're doing it right you are an organism constantly evolving toward some agreed upon approximation of excellence. Wouldn't that be at least one definition of a spiritual state?" 
Quenton Cassidy -

The issue of injury, as it pertains to the true and injured runner is simply that the constant state of betterment is halted. And more poignantly, that others are continuing to develop and become better while you sit and wait out your ailments. If running is so deeply seeded in your mind and body so as to be spiritual, it is easy to see why injuries that prevent one running can be so depressing. And why we push ourselves to get out there in pain seems sane and justifiable. 

Two pain free runs this week following a decent, but conservative race weekend, and I look forward to Comfortably Numb this Sunday. The odd throb in my foot tells me I should lay off until after receiving professional advice, but my spirit says race. If it goes well, I'll convince myself  I'm fine. If it goes badly, that little voice inside my head will be saying I knew it!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The last week

Over the last week, I've had some incredible runs and races (that I watched). I've heeded some of the advice of Adam Campbell and have been enjoying climbing and descending more than ever before. My lovely Lara ran the Iron Knee last Sunday and I got a chance to watch a race for a change. Seeing the lead group come through still blows me away. Oliver Utting barely looks like he's working, but I guess when you weigh a buck twenty-two, how much work is required. For the record, he said it was hard.

The day before the race I volunteered at North Shore Athletics for the package pick up. It's my first time and I love this job. You get the chance to see everybody in their civilian clothes, not covered in salty residue, and smiling. I had some great chats and loved getting to know a larger group of the North Shore's running community. The next morning I was able to cheer on so many people by name and I loved it. Some of them had no idea who I was, but smiled and pranced away in a better place...I think.

Monday I got an email from my Dirty Duo teammate, Arthur Gaillot, asking if I'd be interested in racing with his fellow Nomad machine, Chris Johnston, in the Red Bull Divide and Conquer. What is that, I wondered?  After a quick Google search of a race that is in my own background and that I'd never heard of, I gladly accepted. All we needed was a paddler. Someone who knows the Capilano River like the back of his hand. A good friend of mine know's paddlers well and hooked us up with James Mole, a guy, he believes has paddled the Capilano more than anybody on earth. Sounds like we found our guy. James accepted the invite excitedly and now we have a team for June 16th's Divide and Conquer.

I started asking some questions and doing some research and found that the route went over some trails I'd never been on. The terrain is my backyard, but I didn't recognize the names, JetBoy, Dreamweaver, or Executioner. This information came from local ultra running star, Gary Robbins so I knew it must be accurate. By Wednesday I'd determined that I'd been on JetBoy and I'd been on Executioner. The latter on a bike and the former about five years ago. By yesterday, granted not in it's entirety, I'd seen the whole course. It's going to be tough. It's a 12-13km course that'll likely take near two hours. Below are a few pictures from the course.

Entrance to Executioner of Dreaweaver

Entrance to Executioner from Mountain Highway (off 6th switchback)

Executioner Steep Section

Cool Archway entrance to Dreamweaver

Thursday, May 31, 2012

In the works...

On June 16th the North Shore of Vancouver will be speckled with mountain runners, mountain bikers, and kayakers in Red Bulls first adventure style relay.

I'm currently working on a team and it's looking good. Hopefully in the next couple days I'll be registered with a couple of fine fellas.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Marx and the Nomads

I've never been so proud of the fact that I'm training under Monika Marx. I've seen incredible changes in my performance and overall function as an athlete. Check out this spot light on Monika and the incredible team she trains, one of whom is my 2012 Dirty Duo partner, Arthur Gaillot. A machine and a great guy to boot.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mondays Chat with Salomon's Adam Campbell

With about 35 people in plastic, folding chairs and paper plates full of cookies and fruit sitting on their knees, Adam and I sat down to share out some of our experiences in running distances of 50k or more with a particular focus on Knee Knacker and training for such events. With all of Adam's successes, I certainly felt a little out of place sitting up there with him, and kept assuring myself that regardless of success every experience can be a teacher for others. Besides, the presentation was more of a "Tom ask Adam the questions and Adam respond as he likes" format. It worked out brilliantly, as many of those who attended also asked some great questions and were able to share their experiences too.

For those of you who really want to know though, Adam is an open book. He doesn't lie about his training and is happy to share his "secrets".  He truly is open to questions and to bettering the trail running experiences of others with his expertise. He tends to practice the obvious in that he runs to become a good runner, he climbs to become a good climber, and so on. Adam does not believe in the gym for himself as a runner, but, in the name of health, encourages others to do what works for them. A point he reiterated many times was just that - what I do works for me...and my unbreakable, 127 pound, 5'6" frame (that last part was my own addition although true). It doesn't mean it is for everyone. Like most ultra runners, Adam runs an incredible number of miles per week, but only estimates the distances. For him, it is more important to log time on his feet on race specific terrain. For example, he spends a lot of time climbing BCMC and the like with his next race having over 8500 meters of vertical, the Ultra Trail de Mount Fuji in Japan on May 18th. How does a lawyer have time to log the 10.5 hours that he ran last Saturday or occasionally run two or three times per day, you're wondering, right? So was I. Adam recognizes his family situation as unique in that it allows him a great deal of independence. As many of us have families on top of our jobs it's tough to get out sometimes. Adam jokingly credits his supportive wife, Lauren Groves/Campbell, and then mentions her living over seas to do her own training.

In his opinion and for his type of racing, Adam says speed work is overrated. Climbing quickly will reap the same benefits and being sure to maintain tempo runs. But the greatest key he says, is consistency. Be out there regularly and often. After many years of pushing his body hard, Adam doesn't believe in over training, just under recovering.

And there are your Coles Notes. It was a terrific night and I cannot thank Salomon West Vancouver enough for the great idea and for hosting. Adam, as I said before, not many people could publicly say they want to be one of the best ultra runners in the world without sounding arrogant. Your modesty and drive are inspiring.

Thank you and have a great trip to Japan. You can bet I'll be watching results. Please let us know where to look.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My chance at some Campbell Wisdom - Join me

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about picking Adam's brain a little. Not so I can be an international superstar like him, but to see if I can use his wisdom to get me a little faster and a little further. Not only is this a brilliant opportunity for me, but it is also great for you. If you can't make it on April 30th, send me your questions, I'll ask them, and I'll post the responses here following our discussion.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Restin' n' Runnin'

This is the fifth day in row I haven't run at all, not even to catch a bus, and it's tough. One of my colleagues has been out at lunch three times this week and each time it seems he's even more elated than the last - probably just to rub it in. Either way, I'm jealous but I also know this down time is good for me as a new season begins next week.

The absolute truth of it is that I started my running rest the moment I crossed the finish line at Dirty Duo on March 10th. That was a tough day and I'd been training sluggishly hard since Orcas on February 6th. I just hadn't been able to get a rhythm or an up day for weeks and it carried itself into the Duo. I'm pretty sure my legs went lactic on the word "GO!" before I plowed up that driveway out of Jaycee House. Dragging myself around that course just fast enough to stay with Pricey was all I had. I mean look at that finish face (2:25). In hindsight I could have backed off, let Pricey annihilate me, and let my riding partner get us the win, but that just isn't me. I even tried to tell Pricey I was fine and feeling great at one point. There was no way I wanted him knowing I was in hell. Regardless of how I was feeling, he pushed and pulled the whole way and showed me the beginnings of a what promises to be a very strong season for him. I'm looking forward to some tete-a-tete at the Squamish 50 in August. Anyway, under great pressure, myself and Arthur Gaillott took the relay win in 4:03.

A couple days following Dirty Duo my family and I made our way down to California where I took on an extremely laissez-faire approach to my running even though I was scheduled to race again on March 25th before I put my feet up entirely. I ate well and was sure to enjoy some beer or wine daily; sometimes both. It works in Europe I think. The trails in the Palm Desert area were precisely what I needed. They were less steep and seemed to have a vacation type relaxation to them. The air was dry, the temperature a bit warmer, and I walked the bigger hills and ran some very short runs. One run was 28 minutes long and I was completely okay with it. I couldn't wait to get in the car and hit the Jamba Juice. Most of the trails were in canyons and wound between cactus stands and all had scenic snowy backdrops. It had been cold and snowed above 4000 feet. Painted Canyon to the South may have been the most brilliant. The first part took us through fissures in the earth that were just wider than shoulder width and spat us out at the top of a wide open plain covered in cactus and other dry scrub. Most other runs became mostly hikes and were gorgeous.Before I knew it the 25th had come and we were back in Irvine ready to race the Into the Wild half marathon-ish. At the sound of my 5:25 alarm I immediately regretted my last few weeks of running. On one hand my mind was telling me I wasn't ready for this and on the other I was being convinced that I needed to relax and enjoy the ride. Going with the latter we cruised out to Irvine Regional Park in almost no traffic - I guess Irvinites are all in church at 6:30 because you seldom cruise through any traffic in that part of California. Pulled up my Zoots, tightened up the Speed Cross and there I was at the start line of a course and field of which I was completely ignorant. Within minutes of GO! I was in 5th place. I could see the leader and wondered if I belonged there. The pace felt right and did so for at least four miles at which point I moved into third position. I felt good on the hills but definitely fought them. The dry air seemed to get me when my lungs got demanding. The trail consistently climbed up and then went all the way back down. Not like Knee Knacker up and down but like a loop up and down. After a long climb we'd unknowingly go all the way back to the bottom and then turn up another climb to do it all again. The terrain was beautiful though and I never would have run those trails without this race. Northern slopes were green and covered while southern exposure made for dry, sandy conditions. The last mile was flat, asphalt and was the toughest mile - and I think where the "-ish" comes in. The course was billed as "Half marathon-ish" and various GPS's determined it to be 13.75 miles. I'm thinking that last mile was closer to two because I was in a world of hurt before my 5th place finish in 1:47.

So, since finishing Into the Wild at 9:17am on Saturday I haven't run a speck and I plan to keep it that way until next Monday, April 2nd. I'd rather take voluntary rest when my body asks for it over medically ordered rest. Excited to get back out there, but loving the time out.

Monday, March 5, 2012

2012 Knee Knacker Lottery Results for Non-Facebookers

Preamble by Enzo Federico, one of eight founding fathers and the official statistician of the Knee Knacker.
Welcome to the 2012 Knee Knacker Lottery Results - for the first time ever on Facebook! Here are some stats to start with
- 393 entrants
- 262 to be selected - with attrition of 24% will put ~200 runners on start line
- odds of getting in - 262/393 = 66.7%
Here are the preliminary results. Official results will be posted at here later tonight. If your name is here, the hardest part of the race is done. Congratulations and happy training.

Adams, Ron
Ashdown, Dean
Bremner, Terry
Brown, David
Campbell, Adam (GO SALOMON!)
Chore, Russ
Dagg, Jess
Dalby, Bernie
Ewart, Hilary
Findlay, Peter
Fleming, Jon
Galloway, Scott
Gildersleeve, Nicola
Grosser, Gottfried
Jackson, Ean
Jensen, Patricia
MacLeod, Kenneth
Malaviarachchi, Pat
Nelson-Lee, Andrea
Nicholl, Ron
Ó Maol Chonaire, Ryan
O'Hara, Sean
Ray, Derek
Trigg, Kelsy
Trigg, Jeff
Villeneuve, Phil (GO SALOMON!)
Wakelin, Keith
Wakelin, Neil
Wardas, Michael
Yerxa, Deavah
After 30 guaranteed entrants, we are left with
- 363 names into the lottery
- 232 spots left
- odds of getting in - 232/363 = 63.9%
First 10...
Ruljancich, Shane
Forbes, Michael
Ostrem, David
Strajt, Dave
Collett, Anthony
Mang, Cameron
Macdowall, Charlie
Holland, Brad
Egyed, Dayna
Skeans, John

Next 10...
Uebbing, Robert
Ezzat, Allison
Hannam, Laddie
Broadworth, Greg
Lori, Wong
Gignac, Benoit
Coo, Duncan
Kindrachuk, Judy
Katzman, Ran
Zuzelj, Kristijan
Next 10...
Thompson, Alan
Marks, Leah
So, Richard
Horak, Stuart
Elwes, James
Chu, Benji
Wilson, Christopher
O'Grady, Kathryn
Mciver, Ian
Baber, Colette
Next 10...
Lea, Alexandra
Grist, Mark
Shaw, Bob
Yalcin, Tuba
Cameron, Glenn
Kennett, Jennifer
Anderson, David
Freeland, Colin
Poudenx, Pascal
Donnelly, Erin
Next 10...
Ramsdale, Christie
Vink, Janet
Myer, Jordan
Eng, Ken
Pollard, Lara
Bridges, Mary
Merriman, Scott
Chng, Nick
Deckert, David
Breakey, Charlie
Ervin, Ryan
Rucker, Magdalena
Barringer, Joshua
Stafl, Erik
Xiang, Momo
Wakelin, Kevin
Woll, Karl
John, Barron
Sandell, Andreas
Martin, Paul
Next 10...
Richardson, Laurel
Grove, Paul
Chan, Dan
Adams, Bryce
Ramirez, Dominique
Watts, Terri
Curb, Ivanic
Legrand, Marieve
McIntosh, Andrew
Zamany, Jaleh
Next 10...
Cole, Tim
Young, Justin
Tremblay, Jennifer
Boland, Grant
Sullivan, Judy
Boulton, Chris
Kopec, Kristin
Mahoney, Jon
Bonter, Astrid
Berman, Tracy
Next 10...
Perkins, Graham
Telford, John
Cosman, Bard
Flatt, Alexandra
Thompson, Matt
Ahlsten, Airi
Hetherington, Ian
Riddell, Scott
O'Kiely, Lishe
Boyer, Dory
Next 10...
Mullin, Andrew
Jackson, Michelle
Skrivanos, Pano
Labriola, Jody
Oxenham, Haley
Ellis, Brian
Hache, Serge
Waters, Philip
Gomez, Pablo
McMinn, Amber
Ortiz, Anita
Lambert, Claire
Dario, Herrera
Watts, Dustin
Sokhansanj, Banafsheh
Leigh, Jamie
Trigg, Brad
Adams, Kyla
Kennett, Don
Legg, Ken
Next 10...
Conklin, Marnie
Repta, Wade
Lee, Peter
Cagampan, J
Jacques, Niki
Keir, Doug
Lanari, Ann
Chilibeck, BarryChilibe
Woodside, Alicia
Harman, Al
Next 10...
Arikado, Rick
Benn, Chris
Clarke, James
Rempel, Garth
Taylor, Lara
Hong, Francine
Butler, Amanda
Comley, Murray
Russell, Steve
Liljefors, Sarah
Next 10...
Heiliger, Mike
Hughes, Barbara
Glowacki, Jessica
Roberge, Michel
Bunn, Alan
Young, Marc
Jordan, Alana
Albrecher, August
Bobick, Michael
Sorban, Imre
Next 10...
Wheelan, Emily
Reid, James
Chan, Ho-ming
Yeates, Lindy
Wotherpoon, Scott
Williams, Stephen
Mackenzie, Kim
Katzman, Gili
Moore, Lisa
Richardson, Kathy
Next 10...
Crane, Lisa
Mazzia, Katie
Matthews, Devin
Sharman, Killaine
Lucas, Thomas
Mann, Vicki
Moric, Christine
Wasylishen, Clinton
Cubbon, Paul
Robbins, Gary
Next 10...
Graham, David
Walker, Johnny
Olsen, Errol
Fleming, Shirley
Parker, Philip
Beckley, Dave
Whitworth, Dave
Hightower, John
Parker, David
Gencay, Ramo
Next 10...
Alexis, Guigue
Handford, Moira-Ann
Hughes, Brian
Healey, Andy
Schutz, Brandee
Donnelly, Michaela
Cook, Barbara
Kok, Roy
Barrett, Nathan
Anderson, Meghan
Next 10...
Parslow, Stephen
Miller, Colin
Johnson, Kimberly
McNamara, Michael
Muir, Jackie
Frewin, Cindy
Lehmann, Stefan
Forrestal, Maureen
Preston, Sheryl
Witham, Tara
Next 10...
Schmitz, Marc
Levant, David
Karl, Jensen
Chore, Christine
Crowe, Brad
Dickinson, Kendell
Polizzi, Lisa
Langhjelm, Eric
Yao, Molly
Bjorklund, Per
Next 10...
Perkins, Joel
Eastcott, Linda
Muir, Justin
Railton, Scotty
Manzer, Karl
Casey, Andrew
Tessmann, Carl
Howe, Tammy
Kilpatrick, Dan
Stirling, Jamie
Next 10...
Spence, Brooke
De Abreu, Brad
Altman, Rhonda
Brown, Sasha
Boness, Clive
Parmentier, Mario
Connaughton, Shauna
Ambrose, Neil
Kamachi, Susan
Michalak, Chris
Next 10...
Woods, Pat
Kopec, Michael
Pawa, Sukhi
Moro, Darcel
Olineck, Kurtis
Hughes, Michael
Albert, Esley
Lee, Baldwin
Griffiths, James
Haas, Andrew
Next 10...
Kuiack, Mike
Marciniak, Leslie

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What do you do to run?

In the past year and half the demands of my time have increased significantly. Just the usual demands, work, family, and a new dog, which still is not high up on the list of smartest things I've ever done. Regardless, I love each of them dearly and wouldn't giv'em up for even a split second. I also refuse to give up running for even a split second. Pardon the cliche, but you could say I want my cake and I want to eat it too.

The result of these contrasting worlds is interesting to me and I certainly don't think I'm alone. As running relates to work I still must have a job. Extremely proud, I run for Salomon's Flight Crew and they very generously kit me out each year, but that doesn't pay my mortgage, feed my daughter and dog, or allow me the odd night out. I'm a decent athlete, but no place near any national teams that might bring in some cash. Besides, even if I were, I'm Canadian and we all know how our government funds athletics. Like most everyone else I have a job and I try to maintain my running habit. Being a grade 5 teacher is what brings home my bacon and I typically work from about 7:30 until 3:30 unless it's cross country or track season, in which case I might work until 5:30ish and the odd weekend; of course this is from Monday to Friday.

In the winter months this makes for an interesting and tight running/training schedule. I'll either sneak out of the house to the gym before my daughter hears me and calls my name, run for 45 minutes at lunch, or squeeze in a quicky before nightfall and dinner time. I've gotten pretty creative. I had to. My students think I'm a freak. About 5 minutes before the lunch bell rings and screaming children pour into the halls, I disappear into the bathroom and come back to class in a filthy pair of Speed Cross 3's and compression socks. The bell rings, I dart out the door, and reappear 45 minutes later as a stinky, sweaty, and happy teacher. I'm sure they have Craik jokes about how I smell like crap after lunch time and it ain't what I ate. They probably think it's puberty. If I run in the morning I end up showering at school and they always comment on my wet towel hanging behind my desk. They must think I'm homeless.

As running relates to home/family is whole other game. The reason I'm writing this post is because I recently lied or bent the truth about running and have a secret agenda in encouraging my girl (we're not married in the sense of a piece paper so I can't say "wife") to register for races. Life is busy with a kid (I can't imagine two) and a dog. I love it to death and please hear this for what it is, I love running too. Since Saje, our daughter, has been in our lives I have become a lot more scheduled with my running. It's still about the freedom of running when I go, but I have to be incredibly efficient with my time. My lies are not directly lies. On occasion I just leave out that I have a scheduled run to do and then manipulate the days plans so a spare moment becomes available. Last weekend was the worst one yet. I hadn't mentioned that I had longish run to do and when Lara mentioned being tired I told her she should have a nap when Saje does, thus freeing up about two hours for myself. Thinking that was a good idea, she put her head down for a bit and I came around the corner all geared up. "Well, if you guys are going to nap, maybe I'll get in a little run". Not only did I down play it, I acted as though it was never planned.

She's (Lara) a runner too, but I don't think she gets the same satisfaction out of it that I do. She's one of those people that loves running when she's out there, but doesn't prioritize getting out. When she registers for something like Vancouver Marathon or Knee Knacker she'll train and is always very successful at doing so. With this in mind I have been very encouraging lately to the point of leaving the Knee Knacker page open on the computer. The power of suggestion I'm hoping will lure her into registering as she did for the Vancouver Marathon. A good husband/man friend should be encouraging, right? And I am, but the truth is that I feel she'll understand me better if she too is training to race. It'll be easier to explain that I'm doing my long run Saturday and not feel like I'm pushing it with running.

Perhaps these things make me sound a bit like a drug addict or just a jerk. I'm lying and manipulating just so I can run. I don't expect any sort of intervention in the near future, but I certainly do recognize my obsession and maybe that's the first step, admitting I am obsessed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


(Cascade Falls before the 11 mile aid station. Very fresh - Photo: Glenn Tachiyama)

Since Saturday I've been looking for some inspiration to write something creative, exciting and interesting to read, but it's not coming to me.

Of course the race was incredible. It always is. Did you look outside on Saturday? It was sunny and hot. Definitely not February-esque. The trails were outstanding as always. 99% snow free, rolling, steep, and nice and mulchy. The trees were an amazing contrast of green to the orange peet below. The company was even better.
(Just below Constitution Summit and on the heels of Nicola - Photo: Glenn Tachiyama)

How did I race? 5 hours and 25 minutes. It was no record but was good enough for 14th overall. I tracked Nicola Gildersleeve for a good forty minutes and then we cruised together for about an hour. The whole time I feared that she would hand me the boots on each of the upcoming downhills and she did. We chatted. Had some laughs. Gossiped. I stole some of the energy from the cheers her friends were giving her. As we entered our final climb before the quad searing decent into Cascade Lake we drifted apart and, with 6 km to go, I powered back a whole bottle of
Nuun and 2 gels. There was no way I'd bonk or cramp now. Almost at the lake I squeezed by Nicola's carpool buddy and competition. We spoke little as she was all wrapped up in the ruckus of her ear buds, but I when I left her she knew another female wasn't far back.

The end came quickly for me from there. I ran through a slighter adductor cramp and into the finish. The fleeting moment of disappointment with my time was quickly absorbed by chips, guacamole, and some fine ginger ale, as I realized how well I'd run the last 8 miles from the top of Mount Constitution. I just kept getting faster and faster. Had no troubles moving up hill and was still relatively agile on any remaining technical spots.

After trying my hand at a more focused workout regime in the gym and a heart rate based run schedule, I'm thrilled to say it worked. I'm still not sure how well it worked, but I definitely know I didn't have to be so conservative in the earlier stages of Saturday's Orcas Island 50k. Maybe a bit more pedal to metal on March 10th, Dirty Duo.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pre-Orcas Thoughts

This time tomorrow a gaggle of trail junkies will be 1 hour and 28 minutes into the beautiful Orcas Island 50k course. Smiles will still be abound as many climb Mount Pickett and head toward the first aid station at Camp Moran (10 miles). With loamy, wet trail under foot and pine forests backed with vistas of Mounts Baker and Rainier, why wouldn't this be an enjoyable day?

For me personally, I've worked hard at this one. At first my goal was to better my previous 5:18, but as I get closer to the race and have no clue of what I'm capable of, I'm just glad to feel so great. Thanks to Monika Marx I'm far more well rounded physically than I've ever been before. Fingers are crossed that the weight work pays off on the climbs and toward the end of the race, the spinning helps me buffer those lactic moments, and my long tempos pay off on anything flat, like that last hellish mile around Cascade Lake.

Out to enjoy and lay down no pressure on myself. I vow not to look at my HR monitor, but to only look at the data later. I really have to stay focused on Running Now as it will be easy to get wrapped up in my own expectations after all the work I've done. A little healthy motivation for me is my continued rivalry with the Lazy Trail Runner. Should be a fun day under meteoroligist's promised sunshine.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Marathon Thoughts

Not sure how I missed this one. Apparently it's been going around for awhile. Better late than never, I guess. Thanks, Mike T.